Case Study - Countryside Escape - Birch

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Dulux trade transforms birch into contemporary work of art London’s new countryside escape, Birch, dating back to the 15th century, has undergone extensive redecoration thanks to support from the Dulux Trade team and its Heritage Range.



London’s new countryside escape, Birch, dating back to the 15th century, has undergone extensive redecoration thanks to support from the Dulux Trade team and its Heritage Range.

The grade II listed country escape hotel was built in 1763 and became the 140 bedroom Theobalds Estate hotel in the 1990s. The country estate was once a royal favourite for King James I, a Georgian family home and Sir Christopher Wren’s retreat, a WWII military riding school and is now one of Hertfordshire’s most socially engaged and creative hotels.

To maintain the heritage of the estate with its new contemporary purpose, the designers chose the Dulux Trade Heritage Range to redecorate Theobalds Park’s hotel rooms, foyer and corridors in a variety of colours - as the hotel underwent a transformation and rebrand into Birch, a new city escape.

The rich colour range was the ideal match for the hotel’s contemporary theme allowing the country mansion, surrounded by acres of fields, to maintain its classic elegance whilst incorporating modern escapism into its new interior design concept.

A combination of Green Oxide, Buff and Potters Pink were used for the geometric design on the hotel suite and corridor walls, complemented by Green Oxide and Roman White throughout the proje

The former De Vere Theobalds Estate hotel is set to officially open as Birch on 3rd August 2020.


Birch, which is billed as a city escape that “looks like a hotel, feels like a festival”, is the brainchild of former Ace Hotel London MD Chris Penn and his business partner Chris King, will feature a growing farm, an interactive bakery, two restaurants in partnership with Robin Gill, three bars and co-working and wellness space, as well as a 25-metre Lido (opening later this year) and pottery, music, screening, and art rooms.


Dulux Trade Technical Support Manager, Steve Plowman, worked closely with the hotel’s architects, Red Deer, to adapt the colour scheme and specifications to meet with the colour contrast requirements of the Equality Act Part M. This included particular consideration of Light Reflectance Values (LRV), to ensure that critical surfaces could be clearly distinguished, aiding navigation for those with a visual impairment. The team worked to match the design to colours in the Heritage Range, to ensure that the project was completed to achieve a high aesthetic and functional standard. To bring this vision to life, Dean Jones and his team of highly skilled painters at Broadway Painting Ltd worked tirelessly to achieve outstanding results.


Dulux Trade Diamond Matt was used for the corridors, walls and staircases due to its high durability and effectiveness in masking wall imperfections. The paint is wipeable and scuff resistant to ensure these high traffic areas remain perfect for years to come. It also offers new anti-fade technology and superior stain resistance through its unique Stain Repellent Technology, which can be wiped clean repeatedly without polishing up, helping to extend maintenance for up to five years. Dulux Trade Diamond Matt was also used on the ceilings, while Dulux Trade Eggshell provided the finishing touch on the doors and trim.


The local Dulux Decorator Centre in Enfield worked closely with the Dulux Trade team to ensure colour accuracy and stock supply throughout the project. This collaborative work, along with regular site visits from Steve Plowman, kept the project on track and meant that any issues that arose, could be resolved very quickly. Ciarán O’Brein, founder of Red Deer, said: “Our ethos in creating Birch was to sensitively restore and listen to the existing buildings as best we could. True sustainability meant to us removing and adding things to spaces only where necessary. To this end we relied heavily on working with furniture, sculpture and of course paint to install new moods and agendas across the Grade II Listed building, bedrooms and even the bathrooms.


We worked with Dulux on this exciting project; a deep Dulux Yves Klein blue transforms a traditional stairwell, pastel kaleidoscopic colours adorn listed ceilings in the Screening Room and a dark green creates warmth in a Drawing Room overlooking the lawns.” Steven Plowman said: “The work completed goes far beyond a normal redecoration program. The design is matched throughout all rooms and hallways exactly - with no variation in Heritage colour. The attention to detail is outstanding and clearly shows how a stunning design alongside an effectively executed colour scheme transforms any area.


“The bespoke contemporary paint finish has transformed the hotel interior into a work of art that will stand the test of time and many visitors.”

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